While it remains true that you should buy what you want to use and expect rental income to supplement that, sometimes it's fascinating to see precisely what is going on in the rental market.

One of the beauties of online rental platforms like ShareGrid is that, from time to time, the company gives us a window in data that previously was fiercely protected by individual rental houses. One particularly fascinating aspect of this data is how much it sometimes differs from the things that are most "talked about" or "buzzy," with the real workhouses of the industry coming to light. 

And maybe the data might influence your shopping decisions a little bit.  Here are the things we took away from this year's "Insights."


1. The Sony A7SII continues to Dominate

The biggest news, of course, is that a camera from 2015, the Sony A7SII, continues to be at the top of rentals for ShareGrid. Of course, it's a great camera, with an installed fan base, and big Hollywood movies to its credit.  And, for half of 2018, it remained the only real option for Full Frame mirrorless shooting.

If nothing else, this is a good reminder that some platforms have longer lives than we think, and that market share takes time to move. For all the coverage that the Canon R line got this year, there was only one Canon camera in the top 10, and it was the full frame DSLR 5D Mark IV, at the bottom of the list at #10. 


2. Everyone still loves a Dana Dolly

There are few areas of filmmaking left where there is a clear market-dominantt" device. RED and Alexa duke it out in high end cameras, while MoVi and DJI duke it out in stabilizers. But everyone's favorite speed rail dolly, the Dana Dolly, continues to own the world of beefier sliders.

Of course, we're seeing companies like Syrp move up on that territory, so we're starting to see competition, but for real world use, the Dana Dolly continues to be the unit of choice.


3. Blackmagic Cameras are making inroads

This is actually something we've started to notice ourselves when visiting film schools around the tri-state area: the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro is really starting to gain steam. We don't see it a ton on indie features and music video/commercial work (yet, at least around New York), but increasingly we see film schools picking up several of them at a go.

The combination of EF and PL mounts, the straight to raw workflow, and the shoulder mount ergonics make for a winning combination at the price point, and it shows with Blackmagic's flagship coming in above anything from Canon in the list.

Here's our predictions for next year:  We think the Blackmagic Pocket is affordable enough to not show up extensively in rental platforms, but we think that with the R line, Canon might well be back (but we think that Sony will retain at least one of the top three spots). 

Check back in with us in 2020 to check on our predictions, and check out ShareGrid for more.